• Record Label: Epitaph
  • Release Date: Aug 30, 2011

Generally favorable reviews - based on 26 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 26
  2. Negative: 0 out of 26
Buy On
  1. Not "desert blues." Sadder than blues‑-too sad to be merely calming.
  2. Nov 3, 2011
    Tassili's more acoustic than previous efforts but entirely transfixing, filled with haunted pleas about solitude ("Asuf D Alwa"), faith ("Ya Messinagh"), and drought ("Takest Tamidaret").
  3. Aug 31, 2011
    The power of Tinariwen lies not only in their ability to communicate that idea musically, but most crucially in their ability to make such a simple idea sound fresh and profound.
  4. Sep 26, 2011
    Tinariwen's Tassili may not have the distorted guitars of previous records, but the acoustic recordings suit the contemplative mood and makes for a powerful return to their roots, as the musicians' circumstances, like getting lost in the desert, go in circles.
  5. 80
    This fifth album trades their signature Fender Stratocaster rock sound for hard-plucked acoustic guitars and lutes, conveying a majestic sense of space, the feeling that the music will unfold at its own pace, however long it takes.
  6. Aug 30, 2011
    Tinariwen continue to shift perceptions of what 'world' music can be.
  7. Aug 30, 2011
    Their sound is dustier, more evocative of the landscape they wander; Tassili is as desolate--and as timeless--as the desert itself.
  8. Aug 29, 2011
    With Tassili, Tinariwen reasserts its leadership through a return to roots - setting aside electric guitars and leaving off the female singers who added drive and bustle to previous albums, and going lean and acoustic in sessions recorded under a tent in the Algerian desert.
  9. Aug 29, 2011
    Their fifth album sidesteps the rolling, electric style that's made them world-conquerors for a return to acoustic campfire camaraderie.
  10. Mojo
    Aug 26, 2011
    Where the previous LP put them on a higher plane and widened their audience, this broadens the palette and consolidates their status. [Sept. 2011, p. 92]
  11. Aug 26, 2011
    Perhaps most impressive is that in what is arguably the band's most traditional record to date, Tinariwen manages to loop in highly recognizable people and sounds without any effort.
  12. 80
    The skirling electric guitars have been replaced by acoustic instruments which, allied to the ageless, weary but unbowed character of Ibrahim Ag Alhabib's voice, enhances further the bluesy nature of their music.
  13. Aug 26, 2011
    What we have here is a brave, mostly impressive no-nonsense acoustic set that includes a batch of unnecessary collaborations.
  14. Aug 22, 2011
    The result is an album of intimacy, introspection and incredible beauty; a communion with the sands.
  15. Q Magazine
    Aug 19, 2011
    It sets out the stall for Tinariwen's most rewarding, mesmerising effort to date. [Sep 2011, p.118]
  16. Uncut
    Aug 19, 2011
    Tinariwen have created an entire genre of desert blues, as young bands like Tamikrest and Terakaft attest, but they remain peerless. [Sep 2011, p.76]
  17. Aug 18, 2011
    The contributions of an impressive guest list only serve to further enhance this compelling music, which remains uniquely imbued with the spirit of the environment that shaped it.
  18. Aug 18, 2011
    Tinariwen's fifth album takes off on an acoustic path following the open-
ing track's otherworldy 
appearance by Wilco guitarist Nels Cline.
  19. Aug 29, 2011
    Tassili is a very different album from any Tinariwen have recorded before, and they're proving to be a band of considerable range as they build a catalog of varied and excellent albums.
  20. 70
    The result is an intimate, crystalline collection of almost entirely acoustic songs that hews as closely to American folk as it does Algerian protest songs.
  21. Tassili, too, sounds neither glossily packaged for western audiences, nor too easy to please.
  22. Sep 1, 2011
    The collaborations jump out at the listener, but they account for only half of the album's 12 songs; in some cases, the guests are barely noticeable. Much of the rest is recognizably Tinariwen, and there are plenty of solid tunes here.
  23. Aug 30, 2011
    Gentler than Tinariwen's more electric output, the music draws power from the guests. And in light of the current violence in their Tuareg homeland, the hush only deepens the blues.
  24. Aug 26, 2011
    It's the sound of a band completely at ease with themselves despite hostile surroundings, where music becomes both a document of life and a means to ease away from its greatest challenges for a little while.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 4 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 4 out of 4
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 4
  3. Negative: 0 out of 4
  1. Sep 1, 2011
    I have no idea what language the lyrics are in (Arabic perhaps?) but in any case, the music is absolutely beautiful. It's the kind of thingI have no idea what language the lyrics are in (Arabic perhaps?) but in any case, the music is absolutely beautiful. It's the kind of thing that you can just lose yourself if. This is the power that music has over someone. Full Review »